Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kootenai Falls & Ross Creek Cedars, Libby, Montanta

The Kootenai River flows down from the mountains into a canyon and over Kootenai Falls, one of the largest free-flowing waterfalls in the Northwest. Kootenai Falls was the setting for the movie "The River Wild" filmed in 1993. The falls do not look very big but they drop 90 feet in less than a mile. The main falls are 30 feet high.

The canyon along the Kootenai River is surrounded by rocks of the Belt Supergroup, rocks that were deposited about 1.5 billion years ago during the Precambrian Era. Belt rocks consist of sandstones called quartzites, and thin layers of hard mudstones, or shales. Sediments in the water deposited thin beds of sand, mud and calcium carbonate. Algae mats often trapped fine particles of calcium carbonate to form rounded structures called stromatolites. Looking closely at the last picture, you may be able to see some examples of stromatolites. (Read on for my pictures to Ross Creek Cedars.)

The next day we drove down to Ross Creek Cedars, a place known for the Western Red Cedar. The mile trail through the forest was pretty flat and well groomed, and an easy walk for us.  The giant cedars can get as huge as 8 feet in diameter and 175 feet tall.  Some of the trees are 500 to 1,000 years old. This was a very beautiful walk and the girls also enjoyed all the new smells. The area was covered with ferns and flowers and the whole area was shaded and cool. 

The trail took us to the banks of Ross Creek where the girls were able to dip their feet and get a drink. The waters of Ross Creek come from the rugged alpine basins and peaks of the upper Ross Creek valley, from which centuries of erosion and glaciations have deposited the soils of the cedar grove.

Look at the size of these roots
I know some of these pictures are dark; it was pretty shaded all around with these tall trees creating a canopy over us.

We came upon a dry river bed where people have stopped and built cairns. It was quite amazing; people are quite creative.

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